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  1. #1
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Warm Springs Mountain - Middle Mountain Ride

    I have had the urge to do this climb for a while, but I was never sure if I had the legs for it. Turned out it wasn’t as bad as anticipated. The climb is roughly 6-7 miles and around 2500 feet vertical

    Parked off of Rt 606 near the Clifton Forge Reservoir. Although it is an extremely steep and winding back road, it is heavily used as a shortcut between The Homestead Hotel and the Roanoke airport.

    Crossing Fore Mountain Trail at the beginning.

    The start of the ride was very scenic along the creek


    As you go up, it is drier – and curvier


    Although the traffic was not that bad, you can get caught off guard in the curves

    At the top, you leave Rt 606 to finish the climb on Rt 703

    Looking back

    Around 4000 feet, spring was just getting going good

    At the top, there is a new set of signs – one for the trailhead and one for parking.


    Lake Moomaw in the distance

    View from the parking lot is awesome, looking well over into West Virginia


    Sandy Gap Trailhead

    The first ¼ mile is on Nature Conservancy land, the signs and parking lot are new. My understanding in the past was that we were not really welcome there. Looks like the Nature Conservancy and the Forest Service worked something out. It could have been that the horses were the problem, anyways treat this access with respect so that we don’t lose it.
    The last time I rode this the top part of the trail was totally covered in brush and briars, as was the rest of the trail. Now the top part is in beautiful condition.


    A controlled burn is planned for the area so we are kind of going to wait and see what happens with the rest of the trail

    The rockwork on this trail is second to none


    Unfortunately, after passing the part marked as a burn area the trail is a mess

    The awesome rock work is still there on the lower stretches, it just needs an army of trail cleaners





    At the bottom there was a poster saying I should not have been in there –woops, there was not one at the top. I certainly would not recommend riding this anyways until some serious trail cleaning is done.

    At the bottom, you cross FS 125 and climb up Sandy Gap Trail to the top of Middle Mountain in Douthat. Some of you may recognize this piece of trail as part of the XXC course for Middle Mountain Mama race


    A short time later I was taking a break at the Tuscarora Overlook in Douthat State Park





    The rest of my ride was on Middle Mountain South / Fore Mountain Trail. No trail sign but there is a county line marker sign at the trailhead, go figure. This trailhead is right at the top of Stony Run where Middle Mountain trail merges with Stony Run


    This is one of the more fun rides around, it needs to be used more. It has a descent, a climb, and another descent. It should be a must do for the more adventuresome riders.
    Being a national forest trail, it is more grown over and has more sticks than the Douthat State Park trails. It is probably 4-5 miles and probably 90% downhill.


    Some rocky stretches

    Some open

    The climb section is through a nasty laurel patch and require some pushing. After that, it is downhill all the way to the Clifton Forge Reservoir.



    Crappy picture, but at the bottom you go right to the Clifton Forge Reservoir – Covington via the Fore Mountain trail.

    If you go left through McGraw Hollow you will come out on Douthat Road just above the new Whispering Pines Campground
    Dam on Smith Creek at the Clifton Forge Reservoir
    http://s227.photobucket.com/albums/dd66/CraigCreekRider
    Its Jake - From State Farm. What are you wearing?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    Can't even imagine a 6-7 mile climb. My legs are burning just thinking about it.

  3. #3
    Souperbad
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    I like your Dam picture. HEHE BTW, Thank you for sharing your back country rides/documentaries with the rest of the world, I have taken many amazing rides on trails that I discovered through your postings. You are truly a modern day explorer.

  4. #4
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Can't even imagine a 6-7 mile climb. My legs are burning just thinking about it.
    Haha it was all that I wanted. I mapped it yesterday on Delorme and it said 7.7 miles. There are a couple of short downhill stretches on Rt 703 that you pay for immediately with an even steeper incline on the next stretch. It is a great workout ride and I figured worse case I would turn around and drift back to the truck.
    http://s227.photobucket.com/albums/dd66/CraigCreekRider
    Its Jake - From State Farm. What are you wearing?

  5. #5
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcneace View Post
    I like your Dam picture. HEHE BTW, Thank you for sharing your back country rides/documentaries with the rest of the world, I have taken many amazing rides on trails that I discovered through your postings. You are truly a modern day explorer.
    Below that dam is the main reservoir. With the washed out pipes sticking out of the lake it is not the most scenic view.

    I have a lot of fun on these exploration type rides hooking different stuff together. It always takes me longer than I expect but who cares. Thanks for the kind words, glad to see somebody reads my ramblings.
    http://s227.photobucket.com/albums/dd66/CraigCreekRider
    Its Jake - From State Farm. What are you wearing?

  6. #6
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    CCR, that stonework that was along the trail was it originally built by the CCC? You'd be a great tour guide, that part of VA is beautiful.

  7. #7
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wishful Tomcat View Post
    CCR, that stonework that was along the trail was it originally built by the CCC? You'd be a great tour guide, that part of VA is beautiful.
    Yes it was. The quality of Sandy Gap trail and the trail system we have been working on on Price & Patterson mountains is night and day (30 miles or less apart). They were all CCC trails as far as I know, but the Sandy Gap crew must have been led by a West Point Engineer. The trails we have been working on were built on the premise that the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line and the crew that gets to the top first gets a steak dinner
    http://s227.photobucket.com/albums/dd66/CraigCreekRider
    Its Jake - From State Farm. What are you wearing?

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